“The World Of Creation Is A Chain Of Inspiration” And Other Shaboozey Thoughts
by mackenzie patel
I don’t usually go into interviews expecting life advice, detailed dream analysis, and motivational speaking, so I was pleasantly surprised when that was exactly the conversation I experienced with Shaboozey, a rapper and creative intellectual from North Virginia. Although Shaboozey, born Collins Chibueze, is only twenty-three years old, he has signed with Republic Records, started novels, and worked on numerous films, like his Robert Plant project that debuted on Complex in August of 2017.
For Shaboozey, “the purpose of existence is creating,” and our conversation revolved around the different aspects of creativity, whether that be creativity through music, art, literature, or film.
His most recognized song, Winning Streak, is a compilation of old Western, soulful rock, rap, and a tint of nostalgia. His end goal with music is to create something “the whole world will like,” which seemed outlandish to me until I got to know Shaboozey. A jack-of-all-trades, he works on three or four albums simultaneously, all with different styles and new sounds. His childhood influences include Nigerian music, Backstreet Boys, and Led Zeppelin, which explains his attraction to eclectic styles.
He “pulls things by the second” and can “wake up every day and write a new sounding track.” His current aura is that of Western films, which is evident in the music video for Winning Streak. Shaboozey is drawn to the specific brand and how niche and cultivated the rodeo vibe is: blue jeans, cocked hat, and guns with a sentimental love story. Besides the visual aspects, the sound of Winning Streak is also nostalgic with deep, slow vocals and a wistful guitar solo. And since he is a labeled “rapper,” this inclusion of rock guitars and lyrics that aren’t laced with the “f” word and normal rapping tropes (i.e. drugs, sexual violence) is refreshing and novel.
When talking about creative projects, the excitement in Shaboozey’s voice was palpable and radiating. His highs are of the imaginative kind, such as being innovative or eventually doing the stuff that other people ask, “how is it possible to do that?” (i.e. Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize in music for DAMN.).
“There’s only twelve notes on the scale…but with human ingenuity, you’re capable of doing anything…I wasn’t trained to play instruments or edit, all you need is a mind and your hands to create something that inspires others.”
Although Shaboozey is inspired by movies, generational icons, and pretty much everything, his greatest inspirations are women, love, and forming relationships with new people. Inspiration is infectious - through other people, you can “discover a world you never knew existed.” For example, he became interested in rock because his ex was into classic rock, and her home had rock vinyls and posters of bands such as The Grateful Dead. There is nothing stagnant about Shaboozey, in part because he’s busy living, talking, and translating his experiences into film, music, and art. As a “creative sponge”, it seems like a big part of his creative process is observing others’ ideas but making them into his own. His way of speaking about creating is captivating, and even I felt compelled to pen a novel that night because of his excitement and insistence.
Surprising others as well as himself with the limits of innovation is Shaboozey’s bread and butter, although music isn’t the only field he’s dabbled in.
“Wanting to only do music is a disservice to yourself; you should make everything.”
For him, the variety of creativity outlets are different aspects of the same thing – the almighty “idea,” which can then be manifested through an album or piece of art. Music is merely a springboard for other projects since “creation is infinite,” and according to Shaboozey, he’s already recorded seventy percent of the music he’s going to make in his lifetime.
“Music isn’t the only thing for notoriety…you have notoriety for different things, like notoriety just for being “you” or doing heart to heart stuff…it’s very rewarding.”
His perspective was jarring because young musicians (Shaboozey cited young rappers specifically) often think that music is the apex of self-expression. But as Shaboozey eloquently phrased it, “create or die,” and that way of thinking extends past music and making music only when you’re young. It applies to writing novels in your seventies or cooking up a screenplay about Robert Plant based on one song you heard. Creation is an integral part of the human experience, the very act of thinking or categorizing the world in different terms leading to a more advanced (and accepting) society.
Our conversation ended on a mind-bending note of dream sharing and Shaboozey saying “anything you can think up with your mind will be created at one point….even amusement parks on Mars will probably happen in the future.”
Shaboozey dreams in finished art forms and compares his visions to a Steven Spielberg film, the imagery of a horror shot slowly zooming in a girl under his bed coming to mind. He blames it on contracting malaria three times while living in Nigeria, but I think it’s a testament to his creative finesse.
Shaboozey is a Renaissance Man that can squeeze inspiration out of a pinhole. As for his latest music, he wants to create an album as culturally impactful as the Arctic Monkey’s AM album was. As the title alludes to, Shaboozey finished by saying, “The world of creation is a chain of inspiration,” and with his current style of mixed rock, hip hop, rap, and Western, he’s definitely living up to that mantra.